Québec City
Québec City

Perched atop cap Diamant, surveying the St. Lawrence River, Québec City is one of the landmarks of North American history.

Map of Québec City and points of interest

Map of the Greater Québec City Area and points of interest

Samuel de Champlain saw the potential of this natural citadel, and founded a fur-trading post here in 1608. As religious institutions and government buildings sprang up within the fortifications of the Upper Town, merchants and craftsmen settled in the Lower Town alongside the River. Québec City was a valuable prize sought after many times in the wars of the 17th and 18th centuries. When it finally fell to the English in 1759, New France became a British colony.

[Panorama de la ville de Quebec]

Québec City, the cradle of French civilization in North America, is today a busy seaport, an important centre of services and research, a cultural hot spot and, of course, the provincial capital. The remarkable parliament buildings (Hôtel du Parlement) are well worth a visit.

An Historic Treasure

The old quarter of Québec City was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1985. This is the only fortified city in North America, and from the top of its ramparts you can admire the maze of narrow, winding streets and sloping roofs. Near the St. John gate, one of four in the fortifications, Artillery Park features an impressive redoubt dating from the French regime, along with other buildings.

Inside the venerable old walls, visitors will find several fascinating museums, including the Musée de l'Amérique française, tucked away within the centuries-old walls of the Seminary, and two others telling the stories of the Ursuline and Augustine nuns. The Notre-Dame-de-Québec Basilica, with its rich art collection, features a superb sound and light show.

[Petit-Champlain Quarter] Make your way down to the Lower Town and you will come to Place-Royale, dating back to the earliest days of the colony. Despite their advanced age, this whole area and the adjacent Petit-Champlain quarter are very much alive and well, thank you, with an interpretation centre, art and craft boutiques, and many restaurants and bistros. Just next door, the Musée de la civilisation presents thematic exhibitions with a contemporary interactive approach. And while you're in the Old Port, why not hop aboard a cruise boat for a refreshingly different view of the city from a new vantage point?

[Chateau Frontenac] If you decide instead to climb back up toward the Citadel dominating the city, you'll pass by the immortal Château Frontenac, with its medieval-looking gables and turrets. From there you will probably want to stroll the boardwalk of Terrasse Dufferin, with an incomparable view of the St. Lawrence. Keep walking and you'll come to the Plains of Abraham, also known as Battlefields Park. This vast green space wasn't always so peaceful: in fact, in 1759 it was the site of a clash between the French and British armies that marked a turning point in the history of North America. Here you will find the Musée du Québec, housing an important collection of Québec art and sometimes playing host to major international exhibitions.

For a change of scene, you can visit the Aquarium, close to the remarkable Québec Bridge, and the zoo, in Charlesbourg, two favourite spots with visitors both young and old.

Celebrations Year-Round

[Quebec Carnival] Throughout their long history, people here have always recognized the importance of living well and having fun, whatever the season. July is the time for Québec City's international summer festival, as its streets, parks and concert halls overflow with music, theatre and song. Seven months later, in February, the city explodes again with Carnaval, the biggest winter celebration of its kind in the world.

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